KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 – Doctors in the United States have identified a new symptom of Covid-19, informally called “Covid toes”.
The condition is when a patient’s feet and toes have a presence of purple or blue lesions.
“They’re typically painful to touch and could have a hot burning sensation,” said Dr Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, according to USA Today.
The new symptom is said to appear in children and young adults more.
Despite no evidence on its cause, Dr Lautenbach said that it could be an inflammatory response more localiSed to a patient’s foot and toes, or it could be a clotting of blood vessels.
Doctors also reportedly found that the symptom appears in patients who do not show any other Covid-19 symptoms.
“This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress,” Dr Lautenbach said.
“Sometimes this might be your first clue that they have Covid-19 when they don’t have any other symptoms.”
These patients are likely to test negative for the virus as it is still in the early stages, but Dr Lautenbach said that patients should quarantine at home and monitor closely for developing symptoms.
Separately, Covid toes were found more commonly among critically ill patients, said Susan Wilcox, chief of critical care for the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, who suspects the purple lesions as purpura fulminans.
Purpura fulminans occur when the body creates micro-clots in tiny blood vessels in toes, fingers and even nose, caused by inflammation from a severe infection.
The condition is usually seen in patients of acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, the majority of which die of intense, systematic inflammation.
“You get the infection, and then your body will release a cascade of inflammation,” Wilcox was quoted saying.
“In many ways, it’s beneficial, but then sometimes it can either be too much, so the inflammation can lead to its own damage.”